Freedom is Not Free

On this Election Day and as Veterans’ Day approaches this week, my heart overflows with gratitude. We are blessed to be born in a country where we can elect our leaders. So many countries don’t grant their citizens such a privilege.

I thank God for those who fight and fought for our freedom. Freedom is not free.

A lump formed in my throat as soon as we drove onto the holy ground of the majestic Florida military cemetery this past weekend. My Uncle Tommy Carter defended our country years ago as a Marine. We honored his memory this weekend at a heart-rending Marine service. A solo trumpet played “Taps” somberly in this distance, and a 21-gun salute captured our attention.

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The beautiful US Flag was reverently unfolded and draped over my uncle’s remains. Then the two Marine servicemen intricately folded the US Flag back ceremoniously, silently. The officer knelt, bowed his head, and presented the US flag to my Aunt Vicky in a touching presentation. Tears streamed down my face, down almost every face present.

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Moments like these are what make America great.

How ever you may vote politically and how ever you may feel about war, we are all united as American citizens.  Please vote today.

We serve and play on the same team–Team USA.  Our country’s future is in your hands.  One vote makes a difference–yours. Freedom is not free.

Please pray for our leaders, whether you vote for them or not.

“Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.”  –1 Timothy 2:2 NLT

Happy Election Day.  Freedom is not free.

Reflect:

–Would you consider yourself to be patriotic? Please comment.

–Who are some American heroes in your life? How will you show your appreciation for them? Please comment.

Renew:

–” ‘…no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will not refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,’ declares the Lord.” –Isaiah 54:17 NIV

–“Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” –Romans 9:5 NIV

–“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.” –2 Timothy 2:3-4 NIV

Recharge:

–What do you or will you do this week to demonstrate your patriotism? Vote today.

–Please unfurl your American flag and wave it high. Let us show the world we are honored to be Americans.

Resource:

–Your Vote Counts

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For All Hurricane Matthew Survivors

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On these days following the Hurricane, I have more gratitude than I have words…

You may still not have electricity as you read this.

You may be living out of a suitcase in someone else’s home.

Your home may be water-logged.

Your yard may look like a lake.

Your street and yard may be full of downed trees and tree limbs.

You might hear chainsaws and generators for a while.

You might have experienced loss of some of your favorite treasures.

I wish I were there with you to clean up, to hug you, to sit with you and assess the situation.

Friend, Hurricane Matthew is the end of the beginning. The beginning of a new day, a new normal.

You are a beacon of Hope and Light for the world to see.

You shine.

You have life.

You are loved.

You are resilient.

You have it in you.

God is with you.

God will guide you every step.

Let’s band together as brothers and sisters.

Let’s hug our family and loved ones tightly.

Let’s unify.

Together we can.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

you will not be burned;

the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the Lord, your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…

Do not be afraid, for I am with you… ” –Isaiah 43:2-3a,5.

Reflect:

–How have you been affected by Hurricane Matthew? Please comment.

Renew:

–God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. –Psalm 46:1-3, 5.

Resource:

Top Photo credit: Live 5 News.

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America! America!

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Have you noticed it also? The stores are packed with various sizes of American flags and patriotic bunting. The metal trailers for selling fireworks are cropping up throughout the city. Even the clothing stores are featuring larger quantities of patriotic attire. It’s coming soon… The Fourth of July, our nation’s 240th birthday.

However strong your Christian faith may be, however you may vote politically, we are all united as American citizens. May we all remember what is imprinted and engraved on all our US dollars and coins, as well as all of our hearts…In God we Trust.

We live in the greatest country in the world and are blessed with abundance and freedoms most countries envy.  We serve and play on the same team–Team USA.

We are blessed with valiant heroes today and in wars past. Each time I see a serviceman or woman in uniform, no matter where I am, if I am able to make eye contact, I say, “Thank you so much for serving our country.” To me, our encouragement is the least we can do for their valiant service of defending our country. Freedom is not free.

Let’s unfurl our American flags and wave them high. Let us show the world how much we believe in America. God truly shed His grace on thee.

In eighth grade, our Social Studies teacher had us memorize a portion of the Constitution’s Preamble. It still is recalled easily, as it is seered on my heart:

“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility,  provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.” Amen.

May we savor these tender words of “America the Beautiful”:

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Reflect:

–Who are some American heroes in your life? How will you show your appreciation for them? Please comment.

Renew:

–” ‘…no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will not refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,’ declares the Lord.” –Isaiah 54:17 NIV

–“Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” –Romans 9:5 NIV

–“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” –2 Timothy 2:3 NIV

Recharge:

–What do you or will you do this week to demonstrate your patriotism?

Resource:

–Enjoy the US Naval Academy singing “America the Beautiful.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JKCom39yKQ

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